Senior Bowl: Checkup Edition
Patrick D. Starr
If you read our Top 10 prospects for the Houston Texans last week, we covered 10 players who could possibly help the Texans during the 2012 season. Of course it is all contingent if the Texans draft them, but our list is players who in our minds could provide some help to an already deep Texans roster. Also, you will find some players we have added who proved to be a few other players who we highlighted during the beginning of the week, and stood out during Saturday's game.
The game is very basic in terms of offense and defense, but it gives players the opportunity just to play the game and show what they can do. Practice and interviews do some good things for the potential draft picks, but the game may allow a certain player make a last minute impact on scouts minds. Here is a look at our list, and with a few new names.
Our Players to Watch
1. Keenan Robinson 6’3″ 240 lbs. Texas, Linebacker
Recorded 3 total tackles on Saturday, but his true gift is his speed at the linebacker position. For his size he has a rare combination that NFL teams looks for, he can play either on the indside or outside. He looks suited to play on the outside of a 3-4 defense or a Will linebacker position of a 4-3 scheme.
2. Audie Cole 6’4″ 258 lbs NC State, Linebacker
Had 4 total tackles and 1 pass breakup that should have been an interception. Cole is as versatile linebacker at the Senior Bowl as they come. He is big enough to play on the inside, but has enough athleticism to play off the edge. Cole had a one on one situation with Mississippi State running back Vick Ballard, and Ballard left Cole in his tracks. Cole is going to have to be a more downhill player, but there is many things to like about Cole.
3. Cam Johnson 6’3″ 267 lbs. Virginia, Defensive End
Johnson had a pass breakup but he caused pressure from the defensive end position. Johnson, to us, is one of the better pass rushers during Senior Bowl week. His long frame and good speed off the snap of the ball gives him to be on a NFL roster in 2012. He has good lean when the gets around the edge, and showed he can move the bigger offensive tackles.
4. Marvin Jones 6’1″ 198 lbs., California, Wide Receiver
He had 1 catch for 8 yards and a touchdown. Jones is another big target, who could be an adequate #3 wide receiver in the future. Jones has some nice speed and can go across the middle when needed. At 198 lbs. he is actually thinner than his counterparts, but he has made a solid impression.
5. Mike Martin 6’1″ 307 lbs., Michigan, Defensive Tackle
From his 3 technique position, Martin had 3 tackles and is slowly turning into a solid player for the 2012 Draft. High motor is the word that comes with Martin, but he is a very strong at the point of attack and shows he can shed blocks when needed. He has some hustle in his game and that is a good plus to have in the defensive tackle's description. He plays with good leverage and refuses to lose in one on one situations.
6. Brian Quick 6’3″ 223 lbs. Appalachian State, Wide Receiver
Only had 2 catches for 10 yards, but he is an imposing figure on the field. Quick has an 81' wingspan and looks to be the best small school prospect. He has all the tools to be something at the NFL level, but the words raw and potential are fair assessments of Quick. He is holding a 2nd to 3rd round grade, but when he catches the ball he needs some awareness. He ran over a defender for a key 1st down in the game, but he needs to get North and South with the football when he catches it. Look for Quick in the coming months.
7. Joe Adams 5’10″ 174 lbs., Arkansas Wide Receiver/Kick Returner
Despite his early fumble, Adams had 6 catches for 116 yards. Adams has some nice hands, but he is very elusive when he touches the ball. Has a good chance to be a slot wide out in the next level, and has an assortment to moves. He also adds value with his ability to return punts, and he has the potential to be a gamebreaker. Word is that Adams says he can run a 4.25 in the 40 yard dash, if true expect Adams not to last past the 3rd round of the NFL draft.
8. Chris Rainey 5’8″ 174 lbs., Florida, Wide Receiver/ Runningback
He has 82 all-purpose yards on Saturday (5 rushing, 60 kick return, 17 punt return) which shows he can help in more areas than one. He is in the middle of a position change, but he can help with the return game, and in the recieving and rushing game. Rainey looks to be one of those wildcard players that could be a hybrid offensive player and create some mismatches in situational offensive sets. He still has some work to do before the NFL Combine, but he has a good start.
9. Shea McClellin 6’3″ 248 lbs., Boise State, Linebacker
One of our favorites McClellin had 4 total tackles, and looks like another player that can provide some depth to a defensive unit. He can play inside or outside linebacker plus defensive end. McClellin can move well and is strong when it counts against the run. In the right situation McClellin could be a valuable asset to a NFL roster, especially in the special teams unit.
10. Alameda Ta’Amu 6’2″ 341 lbs., Washington, Defensive Tackle
Ta'Amu has two tackles for loss, but he created headaches for the South offensive line. Ta'Amu was causing fits by pushing the pocket and moving the line of scrimmage into the offensive backfield. He has limited pass rush ability, but he is a force against the run. He actually was pushing people over and most impressively was the fact he was running to the football non stop. He may not make the play, but his hustle for his size is impressive.
Adds to the list
* Gerell Robinson 6'3" 223 lbs., Arizona St., Wide Receiver
2 catches for 64 yards and a touchdown, Robinson has some breakaway ability. Another big wideout at 6'2" 223 lbs.
* Juron Criner 6'2" 220 lbs., Arizona, Wide Receiver
6 catches 77 yards and a touchdown, looks like the most pro ready wide receiver. It helped he had his college quarterback Nick Foles throwing to him, but he does a good job of reading defenses.
* Vinny Curry, 6'3" 265 lbs., Marshall, Defensive End
2 sacks and a pass deflection on Saturday, Curry with a great week has put himself into a good position for more looks from NFL scouts.
* Isaiah Pead, 5'9" 193 lbs., Cincinnati, Runningback
The MVP of the Senior Bowl, Pead really shined in the punt return game. Pead had 133 all-purpose yards (98 punt return, 31 rush, 4 receiving)
* Mitchell Schwartz, 6'5" 317 lbs., California
Interviewed by the Texans, Schwartz controlled some big time pass rushers from the South. Can play either the left or right tackle, and is an athletic big man.
* Jeff Allen, 6'4" 306 lbs., Illinois
Also had a good showing, he was pushing the line of scrimmage in the run game, but he as the makings of a solid NFL guard.
* Bobby Wagner, 6'0" 241 lbs., Utah State
Wagner had the best showing of any defensive player and had 7 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 interception and a sack. Wagner is perfect linebacker size, and made his mark on Saturday.